Although the Boston Red Sox have played better of late they are still likely to finish the year with a losing record—a far cry from the expectations many had for them when the 2015 season started. Among the many things that didn’t go as planned were relatively lackluster results from the pitching staff. However, there figures to be a number of changes to that group in 2016, which is always good for prospects, including the likes of Jake Drehoff.
The lanky lefty (6’4” and 195 pounds), who is a native of Georgia, was a standout at Southern Mississippi. An 11-7 record with a 3.52 ERA over two seasons as a Golden Eagle was enough to earn him the opportunity to be Boston’s 12th-round draft choice in 2013.
Pitching in the lower levels of the minors, Drehoff went just 3-6 in 19 starts over his first two professional seasons but did post an impressive 3.32 ERA. In 2015 he pitched mostly out of the bullpen for Single-A Greenville and continued to have positive results. In 24 games (seven starts), he went 3-2 with a 2.89 ERA, while striking out 65 batters in 71.2 innings.
According to scouting reports the 23-year-old doesn’t have overpowering stuff but simply knows how to pitch. Because he lacks a turbo-charged fastball his more varied arsenal may be better-suited for the bullpen. However, nothing is written in stone and one thing that has been consistent throughout his career has been his ability to get batters out no matter when he has entered a game. As he waits for the 2016 season, Drehoff is poised to make the jump to the high minors where he will see if he can sustain his success and make himself enough of a name to earn a big league call-up.
More information on his career statistics is available at BaseballReference and you can also follow the prospect at his Twitter account. Last offseason he took a few minutes to answer some of my questions, and you can see what he had to say by reading on.
Jake Drehoff Interview:
Who was your favorite team and player when you were growing up, and why?: Growing up in Atlanta I was a big Braves fan and like every other Atlanta kid my favorite player was Chipper.
How did you end up playing college ball at the University of Southern Mississippi?: I was a late bloomer in high school and didn't attract college attention until my senior year. One of my teammates in high school (Chase Fowler), who was a year older than me, went to Southern Miss and his dad contacted their recruiting coordinator saying that he thought I would be a good fit.
If you did not start a career as a professional ballplayer, what field do you think you would have entered?: I'm really not sure what I would be doing if I didn't play baseball, maybe in sales or something with sports medicine/physical therapy.
How did you first find out that the Red Sox were interested in you, and what was your draft experience like?: The scout who drafted me (Danny Watkins) had a meeting with me in the fall before the draft and kept some dialogue with me throughout the year, but I didn't really know how much interest he/they had. The draft experience was a little stressful but one of the greatest moments in my life.
What has been your favorite moment thus far from your professional career?: My favorite moment thus far is probably my overall experience playing for the Lowell Spinners.
What pitches do you throw and which do you believe needs the most work?: I throw a four and two- seam fastball, change-up, cutter, and curve ball. I think my curve ball needs the most work as a strikeout pitch.
Who is one hitter from any time in baseball history that you would like to face, and how would you approach the at-bat?: My dad didn't play past high school but it would be cool to go back in time and strike him out.
How challenging was it going to your first spring training and interacting, practicing and playing with players and coaches you may have only seen in the media before?: I was a little anxious going into spring training not knowing what to expect but it was really cool being around those guys and meeting people that I've grown up watching on TV.
********************************You can check me out on Facebook or follow me on Twitter @historianandrew